How Far I've Come

On Monday, I posted this quote because I liked the message. I didn’t put too much thought into it, but I knew that it was inspirational.

Today, I thought about it and I was blown away.

“Take pride in how far you’ve come, and have faith in how far you can go.”

 Thinking about this has brought me out of my funk. Seriously.

How far have I come?

Less than five years ago, I still battled with food. I hated my body and my looks. I hated my freckles and my nose and my frizzy hair. I hated my uneven skin and my slightly pudgy stomach. I was not confident in myself in any way, especially not confident in my looks and my body.

Now, on a good day, I think I’m pretty. I don’t hate myself anymore. I’m okay with wearing a size Medium. While you will rarely (if ever) see me in a bathing suit, I’m not entirely uncomfortable in one. Even on an off day, I still don’t think I’m ugly. I might wear a little bit more makeup and spend a little extra time on my hair, but I don’t stress over my looks anymore. Growing up has made me realize that I am much more than what I look like. But it’s also made me realize that I am not nearly as unattractive as I used to think I was.  

I’m confident in myself. That’s how far I’ve come.

 I hated high school. I hated going to school. I hated doing my work, and that sometimes resulted in a C here and there. I wasn’t proud of my grades. But the people I considered friends were some of the smartest people in the school. It was hard to compete, and it intimidated me so much that sometimes, I didn’t even want to try.
And then I got to college, where my professors encouraged discussion. They valued my mind and what was in it. I felt appreciated and respected, and that encouraged me to work hard.

I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree and a 3.79 GPA. That’s how far I’ve come.

Making friends growing up was hard. Saying that I was shy was an understatement. I was terrified of social situations, and rarely spoke to anyone outside of my social circle. If I didn’t know anybody in my classes, then I just didn’t talk to anyone. I never participated in class discussion in high school, because I was too afraid I would say something stupid.

In college, there were no more “popular groups.” There was nothing for me to be intimidated about anymore. Those same professors who taught me that my mind was important, also taught me that I had something to contribute to the world. I made friends and broke out of my shell. I joined clubs and student government, where I met some of the most amazing people. People who also made me feel like I had a voice, and that it mattered.

I was the student speaker at my college graduation, where I gave a speech in front of five thousand people. That’s how far I’ve come.

Before I met my husband, I was desperate to find someone to love. I was so insecure, that I felt like I needed a partner, just to feel legitimate in the world. I thought that love meant complete dependence on that person, so that I would never be alone.

Love is so much more than that. It means having a partner who is there, just to listen. It means having an unconditional ally in life. It means having a companion to walk through life with you. It doesn’t mean dependence on someone. It means depending on each other.

I am one half of a strong and successful marriage. That’s how far I’ve come.

Realizing all of these things has made me realize something big: that I’ve come a very, very long way from the insecure sixteen year old girl; the girl I was only eight years ago. I am strong and confident and smart and happy. I’ve come a long way.

And now I’m excited to see how far I’ll go in the future.


Robin @ our semi organic life said...

OH I feel exactly the same! Its all so lovely!

CarrieJo said...

thanks for sharing! :)

Brooke said...

beautifully written honest post, thank you for sharing it with us.

Missy said...

Well done to you for staying strong when you felt your lowest. I too have these thoughts but I am getting so much better at realising they are just that- thoughts and not the truth. We all have our demons but it's how we manage them and in your case you kicked their butts ;-)

Thank you for such an inspirational and honest post!

inHERshoes said...

i am so glad that you were able to look at the many things that you've done so great at! it's amazing sometimes on how much we forget because we worry about other things!

modern jane said...

I loved reading this! You have a terrific way of expressing yourself! Thanks for sharing:)

Julie {love, julie} said...

this is so inspiring, I loved reading about the amazing things you have done!

Chelsea said...

This is so beautiful and inspiring. I love that quote and I love the story of how far you've come. I hope one day to be at a good spot where I can look back and see how I've overcome my biggest struggles too :)

Kaitlyn Thatcher said...

Joelle it continually amazes me how eloquent you are and how perfectly you express feelings that I have as well. Even though I always thought you were fabulous and beautiful you really have come so far. This post brought tears to my eyes because I am so happy for you. And by the way...you definitely are a writer and someone needs to publish you, because you really are an inspiration.

Suze said...

You are amazing! Congrats on how far you've come and I know you're going to be great! Thanks for sharing such encouraging thoughts.

Holly said...

You are seriously one of the most inspiring people I've ever "met"! I love reading this and it's very reassuring that you CAN overcome obstacles in your life to get where you want to be!